Doctor Speaks on Tibetan Medicine

The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

By Alyson Zillmann,

Many people are not aware that it is possible for the human body to survive for years on only three pills a day. Dr. Barry Clark, an expert on the ancient Tibetan medical system, presented his lecture "Rejuvenation Methods and Essence-Extraction Techniques in the Tibetan Tradition" to over 40 people in the Neilson Library at Smith College Tuesday night.

Dr. Clark, who completed a 21-day cycle of fasting, studied under one of the personal physicians of the Dalai Lama. The lecture provided a glimpse of a culture on the other side of the world. Dr. Clark spoke of the whole Tibetan rejuvenation process, from preparation to fasting.

He said that to prepare for the fasting, one should cleanse and relax the body with an oil massage, then a bath and a laxative to purge the system. He said without taking these steps, it's as good as "dyeing a stained cloth." Also beforehand, one should avoid stale or rotten foods, such as vinegar and pickle, he added.

Dr. Clark said that the fasting consisted of taking small pills of herbal or mineral compound with hot water. The Tibetans, he said, believe in six superlative medicines - that is, six plants, each believed to have healing powers for certain organs in the body. For example, nutmeg is believed to be good for the heart, and cardamon is good for the kidneys. The other four superlative medicines included in the compound are saffron, clove, and bamboo pith.

Dr. Clark said that during his 21-day cycle, he grew so weak that it took him one and a half hours to lower himself one and a half feet from his bed to the ground. However, after this period, he reached a period of great mental acuity and enlightenment. This is one of the desired results of the rejuvenation process - to be able to focus one's thoughts precisely for many hours and to reach new levels of wisdom. He said that another Westerner who completed the rejuvenation process with him became clairvoyant for a time.

Rejuvenation also promotes longevity, clears the senses, relieves nervous disorders and strengthens the immune system, Dr. Clark said. He said that he knew of Tibetan monks whose hair had turned from gray to black, and other practitioners who had lived for 130 to 150 years or more.

Dr. Clark also talked about exotic Tibetan aphrodisiacs like the urine of the Tibetan Snow Frog and a rare orchid root, which the Tibetans use to induce virility. He said that the Tibetan concept of the aphrodisiac differed from the Western concept of immediate sexual arousal. He said that during the rejuvenation process the practitioner is supposed to control sexual desire, and that the aphrodisiacs allow them to harness more energy by control.

According to, Dr. Clark has traveled extensively since 1981, giving lectures and treatments all over Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. He has written a dictionary on Tibetan Materia Medica, published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

He concluded his lecture by wishing the audience "the joy of life."

back to Tibet

back to: Health, Music and the Environment

Main Page: Reverse Spins